Report #00031: On Shame, Security, and the Restoration of Confidence

If there’s one thing I never thought I’d live to see, it’s a bunch of elves begging to be taught how to cut down trees and turn them into taverns and cheese shops. And to be honest with you, I still haven’t seen that happen. But there’s another thing on that list of “Things I Never Expected” that I have seen recently… Ironforge guards telling folks to flee Ironforge before the city collapses! Allow me to make something very bloody clear…

Ironforge will NOT be collapsing, and I’m bloody well sick to my stomach when I hear that!

I know all these earthquakes have got folks panicked. I know it’s been the duty of heroes and those of us trained in some useful sort of skills to go out and keep home safe for the folks who give us taverns, banks, auction houses, and supply shops to come home to. I know that means not everyone has had the sort of experience we did in Gnomeregan, and I don’t pass judgement on those who’ve lived mostly safe lives. If you’re one of those who has never been far from home and never had to fight off an enemy, then you’re living proof that other folks are doing their duties well. You’re not accustomed to these things. Truth be told, I don’t suppose too many of us who have seen combat are truly used to it. Maybe some are. Maybe some just learn to push it aside and do their duty, but then they still have to deal with how it’s shaken them up later. And there’s those of us who just never adjust well.

You might get hit by some falling rocks. There’s been enough poor folks who have, and it’s true we’ve been running around to free them. It won’t do you any harm to… well, get out of harm’s way. But the city is not going to collapse! You WILL have Ironforge to come back to if you leave! Would I waste my time filing reports in a library that might not stand another day or two? I suppose the guards aren’t immune to panic, but I’ll be finding someone to have a word with who can have a word with them about getting folks all terrified like that. There will be words.

It’s odd to know that, right in the middle of an invasion by these worked-up elementals, one of the greatest blessings of my life happened. You wouldn’t think it would work that way. Terrible things happen during terrible times, and wonderful things happen during wonderful times. If you’re lucky, you live a life filled with more of the latter than the former. But I’ve learned that sometimes wonderful things can happen during terrible times, as well.

I suppose I’ve been a wee bit unclear in these reports about why I was sent home from Northrend. Light knows there’s still plenty of clean-up work to be done there! Many heroes have been given the option to go home because their service is greatly appreciated. They’ve done more than anyone could have asked of them. Someone’s got to tie up loose ends, though. Everyone who has been sent or volunteered to go up there and fight has done more than anyone should ever have to. We’ve all given of ourselves, and some folks truly gave all they had. It still bothers myself greatly to know we can’t bring all their bodies home for proper burial.

I should have been up there longer. The truth is, I started to crack under the strain. I’ve faced troggs, bloody Dark Irons, cultists, orcs that don’t seem to have gotten Warchief Thrall’s message about making peace, traitors, bandits, all sorts of rabid and corrupted beasts, bloody bugs… The list goes on. You go out wandering on your own, and you’re almost sure to run into trouble eventually. Being an explorer isn’t for the weak. And being weak isn’t for Stouthammers. But, as ashamed as I am to admit it, the Scourge was too much for myself. Not the intensity of combat… not exactly. I suppose the trouble was that they got inside my head. About the time I was helping out some of the Knights of Acherus who were holding a position in Zul’Drak I started to question the morality of some of what I was doing. I got to where I couldn’t shoot straight. I hesitated too long. I questioned too much. As long as I was out there alone, I was putting others at risk because I might let the enemy get away.

To the people of Azeroth, and especially the fine folks of Khaz Modan: I have lived with more regret over this than I can ever possibly tell you. Saying “I apologize” could never be enough.

And that’s why I was sent home. To get myself away from the Scourge, except for smaller assignments where I could be observed. Like helping my brother go back and make a sweep through the Plaguelands again. To put myself to work doing things I’m more comfortable with, such as my work as an engineer. I suppose mentoring that boy from Stormwind would have been good for myself if he hadn’t been such a bloody git. And I was to focus on pursuing other goals that would allow myself to move forward with my combat training, not just sit around reading books and drawing up schematics all day. So that’s why I finally stopped talking about it and finally went with Bronzefeather to see the Wildhammers.

I also took to spending more time close to Ironforge, to contribute to the defense if necessary. It made myself feel a bit like the wee mage I used to be again, and I’m not sure how much of that was a comfort and how much of it was a reminder that I wasted a lot of bloody time messing around with magic like that! But we do get these waves of attempted attacks now and then, and I figured I’d be doing more by defending Ironforge by scouting out where the bloody gits were trying to get in and what path they thought they’d be taking than just sitting around in the library. That’s why I was there when folks started showing up to talk to the Earthen Ring shaman, and when the elementals started working their way in.

I was standing in front of the bank last night when an invasion happened, and I didn’t even stop to think about what to do. I just turned around and started setting up fortifications. (I’m telling you all, Ironforge will NOT collapse! Dwarves bloody well know how to build a city and keep it standing!) At some point, I turned around and there was a whole mess of these angry elementals there! The guards were taking on some of them, but there were just too many. I just started shooting, and Serhilde didn’t even need a command from myself. She charged forward, growling and clawing at them. She’s a bloody big bear, but some of those elementals made her look a bit more like a wee cub. She showed them otherwise. Repeatedly.

The guards, the bear, and myself had almost cleared a path and I was going to make my way down to the Mystic Ward when more elementals came pouring in. And that’s when I saw a sight that made my heart swell with pride… King Magni Bronzebeard himself was running through, swinging both those hammers of his, and shouting orders to get folks to safety. Not just to get them out of the way, mind you, but specifically that whoever was evacuating those not ready for combat make sure the evacuees got to safety. Putting his own skin right in the path of possible death while demanding that others be kept safe. For the first time since the elementals showed up, there was a clear thought in my mind… “I wish I were even a fraction of the dwarf King Magni is!”

I turned and kept shooting, and Serhilde stepped in between myself and a charging elemental more than once. She’s a finer beast than I deserve to be able to call my friend. I made sure there was extra cheese for herself this morning. Just before I finished clearing the way, there was a very familiar voice behind myself calling out, “Your combat skills are impressive, Fizzy!” and then King Magni was at my side, helping clear the way before ordering us all to make sure the folks who got trapped get free again. Then he ran off to secure another part of the city, I suppose.

King Magni Bronzebeard himself told me my combat skills are impressive.

I don’t suppose I can keep sitting around questioning my ability to handle an emergency anymore. It was more of a trial of survival in harsh conditions in the Outlands with the Wildhammers. I knew I was able to handle that, and Bronzefeather did most of the work, really. I haven’t trusted myself to respond to an emergency, though. I haven’t trusted myself to aim at an immenent threat and be able to fire. But I didn’t even stop to think about it last night… I just did it. And King Magni said it was impressive.

I certainly hope we have some years of peace ahead of us once the Earthen Ring gets these elementals sorted out. I’m not foolish enough to think some war… big or small… will never come knocking at the gates again, though. It’s bound to happen someday. And when it does, I promise you can all count on myself to do my part. I won’t let you down like I did in Northrend. I am not afraid anymore. My combat skills are impressive, and I dare anyone to say otherwise.

I have King Magni’s opinion. I don’t need anyone else’s.


~ by Fizzy Stouthammer on 11/17/2010.

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